Illinois Mental Health Counselors


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Annual Conference Saturday - 6 CEs Member Special Various Presenters

  • March 28, 2020
  • 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • DoubleTree Hilton Skokie, 9599 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL 60077


  • Attend all three days of the IMHCA Annual Conference at a discounted rate for members!
  • Attend all three days of the IMHCA Annual Conference at a discounted rate for members!

IMHCA Annual Conference - Saturday
Saturday - March 28, 2020
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
6 CEs


DoubleTree Skokie. Mention you are attending the Illinois Mental Health Counselors Annual Conference and receive a special room rate of $109.00 (Standard King or Double Room). Special room rates are available until March 5, 2020. Call 800-222-8733 to make reservations.

3 Choices

9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Empowering the African American Client:  Demystifying Mental Health
Angela D Jackson, Ph.D., LCPC, NCC

Bio: Angela Jackson is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor experienced working with diverse youth, adults, couples, and families. A graduate of Virginia Tech, she has a Ph.D. in Counselor Education with a concentration in Race & Social Policy. She focuses on building rapport with clients from their cultural context and clarifying the basis for their presenting issues. As a Core Faculty member in the Townsend Institute Master’s Counseling Program, Dr. Jackson enjoy empowering students to recognize their strengths and utilize their God-given gifts purposefully. She has gained a unique cultural awareness of the family dynamics and cultural dispositions, particularly with the African American population.

Workshop Description: Client Welfare, Informed Consent, and Avoiding Harm and Imposing Values are ethical standards to consider when empowering the African American client!!  Culturally responsive techniques such as cultural sensitivity, building rapport, and clarifying counseling expectations will be explored via visual media.  Tips for demystifying mental health will be highlighted.

Examining How Clinicians Integrate  Mindfulness Practices with  High-Risk Adolescents
Lili Burciaga, EdD, LCPC

Bio: Dr. Lili Burciaga is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with 14 years of experience in the field in hospitals, community mental health, corrections, and integrative care.  Dr. Burciaga is also assistant professor and core faculty in the child and adolescent track of the clinical mental health counseling graduate program at Lewis University. She teaches in the Undergraduate Psychology Program as well.  Her areas of expertise and interest include mindfulness, trauma, family dynamics, and clinical supervision.

Workshop Description: This workshop looks at a study that explored the lived experiences of clinicians who have integrated mindfulness practices into their clinical work with high-risk adolescents.  The study aimed to explore specific mindfulness integration strategies that are beneficial to high-risk adolescents, based on the experiences of the individuals who participated in the study.  The participants of the study discussed their challenges, successes, and their perception of effective mindfulness techniques with this population.  Three superordinate and 11 subordinate themes and four categories were identified.  The essence of the participant’s experiences provided knowledge and considerations for other clinicians interested in using mindfulness in therapy with high-risk adolescents.

Couple Counseling When Divorce is Imminent
Gwendolyn Sterk, Attorney at Law

Bio: Gwendolyn J. Sterk has been practicing family law since 1989 and successfully started her own law firm, Sterk Family Law Group, P.C., in 2015. Gwendolyn and her team believe in a holistic approach to the practice of family law and strive to not only service a client’s legal needs, but also help manage a client’s emotional and over-all well-being.  Ms. Sterk and the Family Law team work hard to establish connections with a vast network of counselors, support groups, and various other non-traditional service providers, who the team regularly partners with to assist clients on a case by case basis.  Sterk Family Law Group strives to provide clients with the tools they need to be empowered by their life changes, and be encouraged to move on with integrity and dignity.

Workshop Description: This presentation will include the following:

A.      Highlights of Illinois Divorce Law and recent changes in the Law
B.      Tips for Couples from the Perspective of a Divorce Lawyer
C.      Standards of Behavior to maintain good relations with your children
D.      Special considerations for a “grey” divorce

Unique issues for parents of a child with special needs


12:00 PM - 1:00 PM - Lunch: is on your own.

3 Choices
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM

What your mother never told you about ageing: What every practitioner needs to know about counseling clients in later-life.
Brenda Ross, LPC and Assistant Professor in Counselor Education and Supervision; Dr. Kathy Bonnar

Bio: Brenda Ross currently serves as Assistant Professor of Counselor Education & Supervision at Concordia University Chicago and has ten years of collegiate teaching and clinical supervisory experience. Additionally, Ross develops and maintains working relationships with local mental health boards and agencies to involve community individuals and groups with the on-campus Community Counseling Center, which is a training center for practicum students and provides free services to the public, including workshops on Meaningful Living for Older Adults.

Kathy Bonnar currently serves as Assistant Professor of Human Services at Concordia University Chicago and has 15 years of collegiate teaching and supervising plus 12 years experience as a diadactic counseling consultant with large corporations. Dr. Bonnar has presented numerous papers and workshops around the country on human services and ageing.

Workshop Description: How can we support and advance change that combats ageism and offers dignity to older adult clients? Join us as we consider what it means to counsel older adults and debunk ageist myths and misconceptions common in society. Come away with a new language to empower people who are ageing and techniques to improve essential counseling skills as you work with adults. This presentation will include statistics concerning older adults as an under-served population, how the cultural narrative around ageing undermines and disempowers people at all stages of the lifespan, and will help you reframe the conversation about what it means to be mentally healthy into old age. The number of people 65 and older in the U.S. is expected to increase to 55 million in 2020 will comprise 20% of the population by 2050. How will you address this in your own practice?

Trauma Response to Violence
Linda Robinson, PsyD, LCPC; Sandra Siegel, PsyD, LCPC; Tyrell McGhee and Steven Ostergaard are students in the Counseling Psychology Program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Linda Robinson, Psy.D., is a graduate of The Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She holds a license in the State of Illinois as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and is board certified via The National Board for Certified Counselors
Dr. Robinson’s clinical experience includes 25 years working in the field of community mental health providing both direct counseling services and administrative direction to various clinical programs. Dr. Robinson has served as Assistant Director of the Child and Adolescent Program for The Community Mental Health Council in Chicago. She has also held the position of Administrative Program Director at The Bobby E. Wright Mental Health Center in Chicago where she provided administrative direction to their adult programs for the mentally ill. Her academic experience includes 11 years as an Associate Professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She also operates a private practice in the Chicago area treating adults who have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and/or depression. Her special interests include cultural competence in the clinical setting.  

Sandra Siegel, PsyD, LCPC received her doctoral degree from the Adler School of Professional Psychology and attended Northwestern University for her undergraduate studies.  She is a certified Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist and is licensed as a registered nurse, LCPC, as well as a clinical psychologist.  Dr. Siegel’s areas of interest are community mental health, addictions, and the jail and prison systems.  She has an APA published book chapter on Group Therapy with Dually-Diagnosed Individuals.  Dr. Siegel has been the director of a large, inner-city community mental health center for more than ten years, director of a large long-term care facility for the severely mentally ill, as well as working in the criminal justice system for Thresholds Justice Program, the Cook County Public Defender’s office, and the Cook County Jail Women’s Justice Program.  Dr. Siegel has taught at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology for ten years in the Master in Counseling Program and is the coordinator of the IAODAPCA advanced accreditation addiction concentration.

Tyrrell McGhee and Steven Ostergaard are students in the Counseling Psychology Program at the Chicago School. They both have extensive experience working with youth who have been exposed to violence.

Workshop Description: According the 2017 Chicago annual police report, there were 83,598 arrests in Chicago, and 74% were African Americans, although African Americans make up only 31% of the population (U.S. Census Bureau).  Most were young men from poverty-ridden, segregated communities.  There are multiple studies (Busby, 2013; Motley, 2017) that indicate exposure to community violence is connected to increased aggressive behavior, depression, anxiety, substance use, and poor academic performance. The Heartland Alliance report on the Cycle of risk: The intersection of poverty, trauma, and violence (2017) similarly demonstrates the connection of poverty, trauma, race, and violence in Illinois.

Workshop Objectives:
Participants will be informed relative to the impact of community violence on African American youth.
Participants will be informed regarding the relationship between societal factors such as racism, discrimination and poverty and its impact on the development of African American male youth.
Participants will be informed of the recent research regarding epigenetics and how historical trauma can be passed down via DNA.
Participants will be able to identify the risk and resiliency factors when working with traumatized African American youth.
Participants will be able informed of culturally sensitive intervention strategies in order to assist African American youth who have been impacted by traumatic events.

Embracing Strength Based Principle:  Effective Strategies For Treatment Planning
Joann Preston, PhD. LCSW MAC CADC ACSW

Bio: Dr Preston is a licensed clinical social worker with the Chicago Public School system. She has been employed in this position for 28 years.  Her position with the Chicago Public Schools has rewarded her with the opportunity to mentor many students.  She has held numerous positions in social work during her summer hiatus from CPS.    

Most notably in geriatrics and social work with the LGBTQ population.  She has
specialized training in sex trafficking, drug addiction and dementia support.   
Dr Preston was clinically trained at Loyola University receiving her master’s in social work and her doctorate in family therapy from the Institute of Clinical Social Work.

Dr Preston also has a certificate in drug counseling from South Suburban College. Dr Preston has published articles on African American adolescent females and Aids, Urban LGBTQ population and Crisis Intervention.  Dr Preston leads the dementia ministry at Hill Crest Baptist church.    

She loves working with adolescents, families and children and assisting them to grow socially, academically, spiritually and emotionally. Dr Preston states she has never met a kid she did not like.

Workshop Description: This workshop will assist you to apply the strength based principles in your work with children, adolescents and their families to improve treatment outcomes.  Participants will learn practical strategies that can be used effectively in any clinical setting to help clients uncover their coping skills, build new relationships, and identify inner resources.   Participants will gain a better understanding of the challenges many clinicians face when working with multi stressed families and how the strength based approach can reduce therapist burn out, encourage the client to take a proactive role in treatment and therapeutic benefits will be identified.

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+1 (815) 787-0515

P.O. Box 706
DeKalb, IL 60115

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